“We are all Israelis – one people, one heart, if we aren’t there for each other during times of war–when will we be?”
—Tsion Sasportas, the event hall owner
Everything is ready, the wedding dress is beautiful, the flowers are white, over 650 guests are making their way to the event hall, and of course the groom is nervous. Only one problem — due to the recent escalation in rocket fire from Gaza, they must abandon their plans to marry in southern Israel. Instead they must quickly make new wedding arrangements and move the entire event out of the reach of the rockets.
Rinat Shickler and her husband, who is currently serving in the IDF, were to be wed last Thursday in Kibbutz Alumim in the Eshkol Regional Council, southern Israel. Eshkol is a region which suffers from incessant rocket fire, and in the past week the whole area saw over 160 rockets.
Following IDF reports of incoming rocket fire and sirens, the couple was forced to move the entire wedding north, out of the reach of rocket fire. With only a few hours until the ritual ‘breaking of the glass’, that’s much easier said than done.
Friends of the newlyweds mobilized and called for all the guests and caterers alike to announce: “There’s still a wedding, but in a new place.” The family contacted an event hall in Petach Tikvah, a suburb of Tel Aviv, to request use of the hall for the night. The owner, Tsion Sasportas happily obliged the couple in need. “This is the fastest flash wedding we have ever had here,” he said with a warm smile.
Rinat recounted the event:
“It was a real challenge trying to move the whole wedding from the south to central in only a few hours.”
On the way to Petach Tikvah, Rinat and her fiancé stopped to take some photos in front of the Iron Dome battery, which she says describes the whole story.
“It was obvious to us that we should take some wedding pictures with the Iron Dome battery in the background. It is also a reminder to us and future generations.”
The proud father of the bride, Adi Shickler, said excitedly: “I stand here in the hall, watching all the guests arriving–it warms my heart. Rinat wanted to marry just like her brother and sister did, on the lawn of the kibbutz, it was her childhood dream–a place with the smell of home and family. This was definitely the best alternative we could have dreamed of.”